• Welcome to the new NAXJA Forum! If your password does not work, please use "Forgot your password?" link on the log-in page. Please feel free to reach out to [email protected] if we can provide any assistance.

front axle hub conversion [long]

Bob Lester

NAXJA Forum User
Woodbridge VA
I upgraded) my front axle to a one-piece axle. That was on my Dana 30. The axles came out of a 96 Cherokee. Therefore I disconnected the vacuum for the axle. Everything is doing fine so, I am happy. I am going to put in a lock right. In the meantime I thought about putting in axle conversion kit lockout. Well I saw the prices, and nearly passed out. Is there another way of doing this conversion? without having to spend nine hundred dollars? Your thoughts would be appreciated.
Since you swapped your front end shafts, hubs and rotors you'll need the newer model kit for the 297 u-joints. I looked it up and the best price I've found so far is $750 from Rusty's Off-Road.

I've found a guy in our area asking $650 OBO for this setup and he's got the modded rotors you'd need also. I'll PM you.
I just installed the Warn kit on a TJ. In my opinion I wouldnt do it, unless you go to the 5 on 5.5 large bolt pattern kit. For about the same money you can put in a waggie D44.
Have you looked into a front axle swap? I know you just spent some $$$ on fixing your vac disco but swaping to an old front 44 isn't as expensive as I thought it would be. I was close to doing the hub conversion until I started looking at 44s and realized that was a much better investment. I did it to mine and don't regret it at all. I'm working on doing a front 44 swap in a buddy's Jeep and have been getting some info from here on it. FarmerMatt has a write-up about using an Early Bronco (66-77) front 44 which seems to be a fairly straight conversion. Spring pads don't need to be modified at all. This seams to be the easiest 44 conversion but not necessarly the best. Or you can get a FS bronco 44 and have it cut down (advantage = high pinion, big bearings, bigger brakes). Or you can use a Waggy 44. The waggy and fs bronco would need spring pads welded on though. I always thought I'd stick with the 30 since I'd dumped money into it when I put in gears and 297 u-jointed shafts (which are the same as a 44 anyway). I didn't think going to a 44 would give me anymore strength until I realized the possibilities. Already has manual hubs (stronger for one and keeps wear down on your front-end and drives better if you have a front locker), option of bigger 1/2 ton rotors and calipers, stock axle shafts are the same strength as 30s but stronger shafts are available and much stronger (warns for example, I wouldn't spend that kind of money on a D30 shaft), and a huge benefit is the option to use flat-top knuckles and go to a high-steer. I did this with mine and it is worth every penny I spent on it. Plus, parts (ball-joints, wheel bearings, etc.) are cheaper for a 44 than a 30. For the $900 you'd throw into a hub-kit on a 30 (which those hubs aren't very strong), you could be very close to having a 44 in the front. Check out www.pirate4x4.com if you want to find some cheap front 44s. Most of these guys don't want anything smaller than a 60 and get rid of 44s pretty cheap.
I have been debating spending more on my d30 or just building a d44 also. What is the average cost to shorten an axle, and can you get something like that done.
You don't need to shorten one. The Jeep Wagoneer 4door axle is 61" wide, 1" more than stock XJ. Plus if you get a custom one then you have to have custom shafts. I can go to any junkyard and find shafts for mine. Your best bet is to get the front and rear axles out of a Waggy. I used to use the front 44 and AMC 20 rear. But I now have a dana44 out of a waggy, both are still only 61" wide, and a stronger six lug set up. Hope this helps.

Another option is the milemarker conversion. It runs about 650 shiped and dosent need special rotors and it keeps the stock width. I going to be gettting them very soon.
I wasn't aware the Milemarker kit didn't require machined rotors and kept the stock width. Is this straight from Milemarker?

I'd be much more interested in doing a hub conversion if I didn't have to monkey around with special rotors and increased track width.
The mile marker dosent requier all the machine work from what i've been told at least. hopefully in about 2 to 3 weeks I'll have mine and i'll know for sure. but the nice thing about it is it keeps you track width and if you some how break it you can just put a stock shaft and hub on to get you going again.
RedXJ, please keep me posted on the outcome. I was checking out a project vehicle writeup at www.truckfarm.com where they used the Milemarker kit on their XJ. It didn't say much, except that it "added a little width". Here's their pic and comment:


This is what the Mile Marker hubs look like installed. They add a little width to the axle, but they accommodate big 297 u-joints, are rebuildable, and, well...they unlock. As mentioned earlier, the rear Ford axle is a little narrower than stock, so we are building spacers that will bring the total axle width even with the front.


Jason Smith
Another option since you have spent $$$ on shafts and 30 center section parts is to get the inner knuckles off a CJ D30 and the outer knuckles from a waggy or K5, ect D44 (flattops) chev style spindles and brakes with a 5 or 6 lug hub depending on your preferance.... The OEM length 30 shafts will not work unless you add 1.25" to each axle tube or take the aproppriate amount out of the shafts...

This gives you all the benefits to the 44 conversions listed above but keeps the parts you already spend $$ on... I have done this conversion using all fullsize bits. Billavista (mostly hangs on pirate4x4 - since he is no longer using an XJ) did it using the CJ and chev stuff with non-OEM length axle (and was my model)

You can then run the warn premium internal hubs, have a high steer system, better ball joints, no more unit bearings, stronger stubs (available in alloy), ect, ect...

Just another option - definitally not a common conversion but it works for me - HTH


Edit: I forgot costwise if your a scrounger you can do this cheaply - I am $350 in with OEM shafts and ~$1300 in with everything (warn alloy shafts, new bearings, 4.88 gears, new carrier w/ welded spiders, hydro assist, 3-link, lockouts and wheels)

Last edited: